Club Volleyball Organizing For Teen Girls

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Hopeful volleyball players will have the opportunity Nov. 12 to try out for Payson's first-ever club volleyball team.

The tryouts, open to all high school aged girls, will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Wilson dome.

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Sarah Donovan is among the Payson players expected to turn out for a volleyball club team being organized locally.

The movement to bring club volleyball to the Rim country was spearheaded by Donna Moore, whose daughter Brittany was a member of the 2005 Lady Longhorn team, which was eliminated from the Class 4A state tournament last week.

On the club's board of directors with Moore are Cory Houghton, Duke Wilbanks and Peggy Miles.

Moore said when she arrived in Payson from her previous home in Safford, she recognized a need for a club volleyball program.

"We have some girls who can play collegiate volleyball," she said. "But 98 percent of all college players are recruited from club teams.

"With no club teams here, the girls have very little chance of going on to play in college."

An added benefit of being on a club team is that the experience better prepares athletes for high school competition.

"It (club) play takes the athletes to a new level," Moore said. "High school teams with club players are usually better (teams)."

Tentative plans are to field the Rim Country's first teams -- probably a 15- to 16-year-old squad and another in the 17- to 18-year age division -- in January and compete on USA Junior Olympic volleyball circuit until late in May.

"If we qualify for the national tournament, we'd play into June," Moore said.

While many of the games the new team -- to be called "Club Rim" -- will play are in the Valley and Tucson, the squad also will be on the road.

"We'd like to take the older team into California, Texas and Colorado," Moore said.

In fielding a new team, one of the hurdles the board of directors will have to overcome is funding.

"Club volleyball can become expensive. A uniform alone can be more than $100," Moore said, "So, we are looking to the community for support.

"We don't want a girl to have to say ‘I can't play because I don't have the money.'"

In an effort to solve the financial dilemma, the board is in the process of scheduling a series of fund-raisers.

Asking local businesses to partner with the board as sponsors is one of the moneymaking ideas the group is investigating.

The coaches

Moore, a physical education teacher at Julia Randall Elementary School, is scheduled to coach the 17- to 18-year-old team and Lady Horn coach Arnold Stonebrink will head the younger squad.

According to a USA Junior Olympic volleyball Web site, the benefits of playing club volleyball are: it improves fitness and skills, new friends are made and players receive greater exposure to college recruiters.

Payson has three girls who already have some club volleyball experience -- Sarah Donovan, Tori Wilbanks and Brittany Moore.

All three played prominent roles in the Lady Horns run to state this year.

For more information about Club Rim volleyball, call (928) 474-4400.

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